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Gallaudet in Nigeria-Africa

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Gallaudet in Nigeria Africa (GAIN) is based in Africa’s largest country, making it the first tertiary civil society partnership dedicated to advancing Deaf education in Nigeria. GAIN partners Gallaudet University, the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) and Wesley University Ondo, in a common vision, to provide direct multilingual tertiary education to Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities, positioning them to reach their full potential, open career pathways, and thrive as citizens in their country.

Gallaudet chose Nigeria for the site of its program due to its strong ties to the country’s Deaf population, the country’s size and stature within Africa, the socio-political environment in the country, commitments to elevating the education of the Deaf community by key government and private entities and leaders, and its central location among African countries.


To cultivate inclusive, diverse, accessible, and equitable opportunities in African society through education and collaboration advanced by vibrant multilingual signing communities that promote lifelong learning and sustainable livelihoods of the global deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community.


We envision a world where deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind Africans have autonomy in education, sustainable livelihoods, and civic engagement, and are valued throughout society for their contributions toward making transformative impacts on local, national, and global communities.


Acknowledgement and Appreciation

Driving forces

  • Dr. Isaac O. Agboola, ’81 & G-’83, who inspired GAIN-Africa
  • Sir Demola Aladekomo, Dr. Agboola’s cousin; chair, Board of Trustees, Wesley University

Nigeria National Association of the Deaf

  • Alhaji Suleiman Dagbo, Past President
  • Mr. Chidi Olujie, Current President
  • Ms. Charity James Diyong, Member, Steering Committee
  • Mr. Quadri Adelani Mohammed, Member, Steering Committee
  • Ms. Bukola Fakunle, NNAD Women’s Leader
  • Ms. Anthonia Isiguzo, NNAD Past President
  • Mallam Sulayman Abdulmumuni Ujah 

Concept Note Authors

  • Dr. Odutola Ayorinde Odusanya, ’85 & G-’87
  • Mr. John Olumoya, ’82

Wesley University

  • Prof. Sunday Ukachukwu, Vice Chancellor
  • Mrs. Chioma Obasi, Registrar
  • Mr. Ejeh Sylvanus Ogenyi
  • Sir Peter Olorunfemi – May he rest in perfect peace

Gallaudet University

  • Professor Khadijat K. Rashid, ’90, GAIN-Africa lead
  • Ms. Amanda Mueller, GAIN interim Program Officer
  • Mr. Olufemi Ige, G-’20 & G-’21
  • Dr. Charles B. Reilly, Member, Steering Committee
  • Professor Emilia Ada Chukwuma, ’85, Member, Steering Committee
  • Ms. Heather Harker, Past Member, Steering Committee

Key GU team members

  • Ms. Rowena Winiarczyk, ’08 & G-’10
  • Professor Dr. Miako Villanueva, G-’04 & PhD ’11, Director, General Education Program
  • Lecturer Niesha Washington-Shepard, ’06 & G-’18, Department of American Sign Language
  • Lecturer Gregoire Youbara, World Languages and Culture Program
  • Lecturer Mary Dakim, ’07 & G-’11, School of Civic Leadership, Business, & Social Change

Deaf-E3 Project

  • Dr. Khadijat K. Rashid, ’90, Executive Director
  • Ms. Amanda H. F. Mueller, Project Director
  • Dr. Poorna Kushalnagar, ’93, Co-Project Director
  • Mr. Olufemi Ige, G-’20 & G-’21, In-country Project Manager for the Deaf-E3 Project
  • Ms. Sarah Houge, G-’10, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager
  • Ms. Arathy Manoharan, Multilingual Pedagogies Lead
  • Dr. Alim Chandani, PhD ’13, Interpreter Educator
  • Ms. Carla Shird, G-’01, Interpreter Educator

Others instrumental in the development of the Deaf-E3 Project design 

  • Dr. Onudeah Nicolarakis, Assistant Professor, School of Language, Education, and Culture
  • Ms. JoLinda Greenfield, Interpreter Educator
  • Mr. Theodore Baran,  Gallaudet’s Director of the Department of Public Safety
  • Mr. Davin Searls, Independent Technical Grant Writer
  • Mr. Shane Feldman, Innivee Strategies
  • Ms. Lucy Upah, Independent Consultant

Members of the Nigerian and African community who participated in community forums and provided feedback during different stages of this project including on the Mission and Vision, both in Nigeria and via Zoom.

We are grateful to the countless other community members, you know who you are, who have contributed and supported GAIN in so many ways. 


In Memoriam – Issac Agboola

GAIN is the legacy of the late Dr. Isaac Agboola, Class of ’81 & G-’83, former Dean of the School of Education, Business, and Human Services. Dr. Agboola’s dream was to have a direct tertiary education program in his home country of Nigeria for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing Africans. The partnership was formalized on November 5, 2018, when Gallaudet signed an MOU with NNAD and WU.

Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD)

Since 1972, the NNAD has been committed to elevating the role of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing individuals in Nigerian society. With a mission to ensure the overall development of the Deaf to function effectively in all areas of society and culture, the NNAD envisions a Nigerian society free from discrimination against the Deaf community.

Wesley University, Ondo 

Wesley University operates out of a vision to be a world-leading university in innovative education and research. By providing an environment for effective teaching, research in cutting–edge science and technology for sustainable development, Wesley University’s mission is to send out graduates with the training they need to make them self-reliant and responsible citizens and professionals in their society.

Gallaudet University (GU)

Federally chartered since 1864, Gallaudet is a bilingual, multicultural institution of higher education committed to global outreach and exchange, and seeks to empower its graduates with the knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success in the changing local and global communities in which they live and work.

Project Detail

This project is RFA #72062021RFA00001. The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. 


The WDL Scholarship is looking for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals making a difference in the deaf and civic communities of developing countries to become a part of the Gallaudet community. The scholarship was established in 2003 and is funded by the Nippon Foundation of Tokyo Japan to aid students in their journey to Gallaudet. We understand the changes that come with studying abroad in the United States so this scholarship covers tuition, room and board, medical insurance, in addition to an annual budget for regular expenses and supplies so all our international students can focus on their studies.

Education Abroad allows students to attend classes, develop research projects, and perform internships outside of the United States. In an increasingly globalized world, Education Abroad gives students the chance to develop skills and gain experience that will not only grow students personally but professionally as well.

Go Global Week is an annual opportunity to bring international education organizations together to connect with the Gallaudet community. Whether students are interested in scholarships, internships, or jobs that could take them abroad, Go Global Week allows them to meet directly with the people and organizations that can make it happen!

Reading Involves Shared Experiences (RISE) offers fun stories in signed languages to share with deaf children worldwide and features videos and ebooks in more than 30 signed languages including a Nigerian Sign Language!

Dr. Gene Mirus of Gallaudet University, Washington DC, and Dr. Donna Jo Napoli of Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, collaborated with the Gallaudet in Africa-Nigeria (GAIN) program on a RISE storybook initiative. RISE aims to create accessible, free, and fun storybook resources for parents of deaf children, early intervention specialists, deaf education professionals, and other interested parties to promote early language acquisition, early development of literacy skills, and encourage deaf children around the world to read books.

Community Response

Dr. Khadijat Rashid, ’90, School of Education, Business, and Human Services dean, Gallaudet University

“The seeds of this partnership were planted in connections made by my predecessor and dear friend, Dr. Agboola. The fact that this signing includes the Nigerian local deaf community as an equal partner with the cooperating universities provides fertile ground for rich interaction and long term sustainability. The collaborative agreement is rooted in Gallaudet’s long tradition of sign language-centered education and Wesley’s commitment to education for Nigerian deaf youth. Together, we can truly make a positive impact on deaf education in Nigeria and for the African deaf community more broadly.”

President Roberta J. Cordano, Gallaudet University

“This collaboration is a shining example of how we can build and strengthen our deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind communities wherever we are. Signing the MOU is just the beginning. This has been, and is designed to be, a learning partnership, and I commend everyone involved in this historic collaboration—the teams of people from Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, from Wesley University, and from Gallaudet—for their spirit of learning and open-mindedness. That spirit and continued energy will allow us to move forward and achieve the ambitious goals of such an innovative and dynamic partnership.”

Sunday Ukachukwu, dean, principal officer, and vice chancellor, Wesley University

“Gallaudet is a leader in subduing barriers, limitations, and difficulties, and building hope through empowerment through education. With this partnership we now bring the same to Nigeria as we work together to serve humanity.”

Dagbo Suleiman, president Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD)

“Their work as individuals lay the foundation for our collective work together to advance the needs of deaf people. This MOU is not just about the signatures, it is about the relationship and the commitment to work together. That tripartite MOU shows that we understand that deaf, blind, disabled people must be included in the planning and implementation process. It does not leave it to hearing people to decide what the deaf community needs. Instead it breaks down those barriers and models ‘nothing about us, without us.’ NNAD is proud to work alongside Gallaudet and Wesley for the greater good of the Deaf Community in Nigeria and world wide.”


May 07, 2021

May 07, 2021

July 2019

May 8, 2019

November 15, 2018

June 2017

Gallaudet President, Bobbi Cordano, visits Nigeria, Wesley University, and Sir Demola Aladekomo.

February 2017

Passing of beloved Dr. Isaac O. Agboola. Isaac’s cousin, Sir Demola Aladekomo, Chair of the Wesley University, Ondo, Nigeria Board of Trustees attends funeral, plants seed of idea to form a University for the Deaf in Nigeria.

Fact Sheet

Staff Profile

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate